Four of Istanbul’s Tallest Buildings That Dominate the Skyline
City skylines tell a lot about people who inhabit it, and Istanbul’s tallest buildings are no exception. Standing out among minarets of mosques, bridges, and iconic landmarks, they stand for a generation who strives to break records.
This is nothing new because humanity has always lived to break boundaries, and huge constructions are just one way to do it. In history, prominent rulers looked to build significant landmarks as a sign of their wealth, power and dominance.
Two perfect examples are the sprawling royal complex of the Topkapi Palace and the Hagia Sophia once the world’s biggest domed building. Heading to other countries, the Palace of Versailles in France stemming over 67,000 square metres is another perfect example.
Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats
As time passed, humankind became less obsessed with size and more with height. Tall landmarks are also not about showing off wealth. They reflect innovation, achievement, intelligence and are a status symbol that says there is nothing we can’t do.
There is even an official body that outlines specific specifications about what can be called a tall building. The CBUTH (Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitats) works all over the world and given Turkey’s obsession with tall structures, they also have a branch in Istanbul.
So which landmarks in Istanbul do they say reflect the city’s status as a leader in architectural trends?
Istanbul’s Tallest Buildings
CBUTH official stats say Skyland (an apt name) is the highest landmark in Istanbul and 7th tallest in Europe. Standing at 284 metres (932 feet,) in height, it’s composed of three towers containing office space, apartments, shops, and a home design centre.
Completed in 2017, the two taller towers have 65, and 64 floors. Architect Peter Vaughan, who also completed many UK projects and the 50 floor Seyrantepe Towers designed Skyland, and given its prestigious status, buying a penthouse suite will set you back over six digits.
2: Metropol Tower
It was a close competition between two giants because Metropol would have been the highest building until Skyland knocked it off the chart by a mere 4 metres! Sitting in Atasehir, it cost a staggering 800 million USD to build.
RMJM, a British architecture firm designed the landmark covering 58 floors and reaching 280 metres in height. Composed of three skyscrapers and two smaller structures, the project includes a shopping mall, 16 screen cinema, open-air promenade, office space and residential apartments.
3: Diamond of Istanbul
Plans didn’t go well for the team behind the Diamond of Istanbul skyscraper. As well as being sued by Sheraton hotel for blocking their view of the Bosphorus, construction was halted because of technical difficulties, and according to CBUTH, its status is on hold.
The all-encompassing development includes a 300 room 5-star hotel, a 35,000 square metre shopping mall, a giant aquarium, office space, botanical gardens, 5 floors of underground parking, residential apartments and a conference hall for 1400 people.
Not including underground car parking, the project has 48 levels and reaches 268 meters. The investor, Hattat Holding, says they have reapplied to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanisation and completion will happen in 2019.
4: Sapphire Tower
Sapphire Tower is a famous landmark and was the city’s tallest skyscraper until 2017. Standing at 261 metres, 55 floors are above ground and ten below and it is Europe’s 12th highest building. Once again, this building combines all lifestyle elements under one roof with shopping malls, restaurants, cinemas, a mini golf course, swimming pool, office spaces and 187 apartments.
However, its unique design was groundbreaking because in between exterior shells, designers incorporated atriums and gardens, so residents never feel the downside of an urban lifestyle. If you visit the Levent district, head up to their roof terrace restaurant for a mesmerising skyline view.
Watch This Space!
Istanbul, Turkey’s largest and most prominent city, likes to lead the way in everything the country does, but their skyscrapers may soon be knocked off the charts. Proposed plans for the Folkart Highlife tower in Izmir, will see it reach up to 400 metres in height, while plans for the Merkez Ankara office tower reaching 301 metres will make it the second highest in Turkey. The CBUTH is yet to confirm their status so watch this space.
Did You Know?
Putting Istanbul's tallest buildings aside, another iconic landmark, the Taksim Ataturk Cultural Centre is to be replaced with a new, modern version reflecting the best of Turkish architecture. Read more about the project here.